Best Superhero Movies Not Based on Comics - VRGyani News and Media

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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Best Superhero Movies Not Based on Comics

As popular and entertaining as most Marvel and DC films are, it’s understandable that not everyone is a fan of a comic book adaptation. It’s not easy to make an original superhero film, but some filmmakers have made it work.

Since we are all prone to flights of fancy, why not indulge in some superhero fare that's just a little off-the-cuff? This is a list of films that didn’t begin life as a comic. They may include some of the beloved tropes of regular superhero films, but they’re unique in many ways – they subvert the formula or they view the genre from a completely new lens. These are superheroes and superhero stories as we don’t usually see them.

Code 8

In the world of Code 8, superpowered individuals are no longer seen as heroes. They’re pretty much second-class citizens, ousted from their former glory thanks to technological advancements. The film’s protagonist, Connor Reed (Robbie Amell), takes desperate measures in order to get his mother life-saving treatment—he starts working with a band of criminals, who decide to hone his powers and use Connor’s help for their nefarious activities. What could possibly go wrong?

Code 8 is a sleek and gorgeous film that stars two actors well-known for their DC Comics roles. Amell is joined by his cousin Stephen Amell, who plays a very different character from the heroic Green Arrow that we know him as. While we all slept on the film, it received enough of a fan-following that there’s a sequel underway.

Fast Color

I think we can all admit that Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a talented actor who can draw a viewer into every role she plays. Before stepping into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Loki, Mbatha-Raw starred in a very different kind of superhero property.

Fast Color is a pensive, cerebral drama about an intergenerational family of gifted women. The protagonist, Ruth, struggles to control her powers, but when she reconnects with her mother Bo (Lorraine Toussaint) and her daughter Lila (Saniyya Sidney), they have to work together to escape the scientists who want to experiment on Ruth. This film is more of a character study of these women than a regular action-packed superhero film. It’s equal parts heartbreaking and empowering.

Freaks: You're One of Us

This German film doesn’t go as expected. At all. Freaks: You're One of Us begins with an incident at a school that leaves a young girl in tears, and a giant hole in the school wall. We aren’t told what happened, before fast-forwarding to the life of Wendy (Cornelia Gröschel), a restaurant worker with a horrible boss and a pile of bills. A chance encounter with a tramp leaves Wendy questioning her life. She teams up with her co-worker, the nerdy but understanding Elmar (Tim Oliver Schultz), to unearth a conspiracy.

This film is brilliant at keeping the audience guessing. It turns the superhero genre upside down with its many twists and turns. The world is compelling, as are the characters. The film came out in 2020, and I still can’t believe it flew under everyone’s radar. It’s unmissable.

Hancock

Hancock was released the same year as Iron Man and got a lot of mixed reviews. At the time, the film was a rare breed—it attempted to critique superhero properties with its uncouth, irreverent and unheroic lead character, played by Will Smith.

In the film, Hancock believes he’s the only one of his kind, and honestly, the pressure’s getting to him. He’s the kind of hero that leaves a situation worse than he found it, and when he saves the life of a public relations consultant, Ray (Jason Bateman), the man tries to repay him by improving Hancock’s image. Secrets are then revealed that change Hancock’s outlook.

Hancock may have been ahead of its time, but in many ways, it still holds up as both a superhero story and a subversion of the genre.

The Incredibles

There are probably as many adults as there are children who count The Incredibles as one of their favorite films. The animation aside—which is obviously stunning since it’s a Pixar production—the story is so fun.

A couple of superheroes are made to retire to a humdrum suburban life, raising their kids and getting a normal job. But the mundanity of everyday life gets the better of the former Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and he moonlights as a vigilante. Unfortunately, his nocturnal activities attract the wrong kind of attention and soon his entire family is in danger.

This film is very much an homage to the Golden Age of comics—especially Marvel’s First Family, the Fantastic Four—so it feels authentic to the genre, but it’s an original take on superheroes, and superhero families, as well.

Thunder Force

Hollywood has always had a problem with properly representing plus-sized people, especially women. And plus-sized women over 40—do they even exist? Yes, they do, and they can kick butt as hard as anyone else, if Thunder Force is anything to go by.

The film stars Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer as former best friends accidentally reunited when McCarthy’s character, Lydia, accidentally injects herself with super-serum that Spencer’s character, Emily, has dedicated her life to creating. Comedic antics ensue as the two of them use the accident to try and stop the rise of supervillains.

It’s taken way too long for a superhero film like this, and Thunder Force leaves you wanting more. We deserve to see older women succeeding and making mistakes and being heroic.

Unbreakable

M. Night Shyamalan is such a divisive figure in pop culture, but he’s definitely innovative. Unbreakable is now part of the Glass trilogy, but it was a unique entry in the superhero genre back when it was released in 2000.The film stars stalwarts Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis as antagonists in a war of wits, ideologies and morals. Though structured as a comic story, the film is more of a deconstruction of the genre—we’re used to the unbreakable heroes saving the day, what happens when they’re made of glass?

This film is dark and unnerving, which is heightened by Shyamalan’s experience directing horror. You’ll be left wondering how you would react were you in any of the characters’ shoes.

Sky High

Every child worries about living up to their parents' expectations, but what happens when you’re the child of the most famous superhero couple ever, and you don’t seem to have any powers? This is the life of poor Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano), a freshman attending a school for superhero offspring in Sky High.

This film embodies all the hijinks you’d expect from a teen coming-of-age story with the bonus of superhero angst and action. It’s silly and entertaining, which is a refreshing change from the gritty dark stuff we’re bombarded with every day. The best part of the film is that it’s an underdog story. And you can hardly argue with a star cast that includes the late Kelly Preston, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kurt Russell, Bruce Campbell and Lynda Carter.

Sleight

Sleight is one of the more unconventional superhero films on this list. In the 2016 film, Bo Wolfe (Jacob Latimore) is a street magician desperate to get out of his neighborhood so he can put his clever younger sister into a good school. He turns to illegal activities to keep a roof over their heads but faces far too many obstacles when he wants out of this life.

I love how Bo is motivated by the women in his life. They’re not the most active characters, but they guide him along the way. This film is intense and it can get a bit gory as well. Despite the fantastical elements, Sleight is based in realism and the cycle of violence that many youngsters are stuck in.

Super

A lot of us have dreamed of being superheroes, but we don’t quite take it to the level as the protagonist in writer/director James Gunn’s Super. Frank Darbo (Rainn Wilson) has exactly two good memories of his unmemorable life and they fuel his ambitions in the film. One day, Frank has a vision of being a superhero and soon the Crimson Bolt is stalking the streets to bring an end to crime. Alongside Crimson Bolt is his sidekick, Boltie (Elliot Page), who is more menace than hero.

This film is unhinged. It’s certainly an acquired taste and may not be for everyone due to its hyper violence and moral ambiguity. But Super is quite the deconstruction of the genre because of the non-powered, untrained characters driving the story. It’s a mix of revenge fantasy, superhero fantasy, comedy, and everything in between.

KEEP READING: The Best Comic Book Movie Every Year Since ‘Blade’



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